If you’re planning to view Steven Spielberg’s film “Lincoln,” treat your family to even more history by serving the president’s favorite supper, oyster chowder. Abraham Lincoln craved simple foods. His usual supper was apples, nuts, cheese and crackers. But when he moved to Washington, he discovered sweet Chesapeake Bay oysters and ate them at every chance raw, fried or in a simple cream chowder. Oystermen would deliver them by the barrel to the White House. Spielberg’s film won two Oscars in 2012 and produced a stellar performance by Daniel Day-Lewis as the president who saved the Union during the Civil War.
LINCOLN’S OYSTER CHOWDER
• RECIPE •
- 1 quart half-and-half
- 2 leeks
- 2 medium boiled, peeled potatoes, bite-size dice
- 1 cup peas
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 24 shucked oysters with juice
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 8 slices white or whole-wheat bread
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 large rosemary sprig
Melt butter and add rosemary on low heat. Cool, then remove rosemary. Slice white and light-green parts of leeks. Add to half-and-half, potatoes and peas and simmer for 20 minutes. Brush bread with the rosemary butter and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly toasted. Reheat the half-and-half; add vinegar and salt and pepper. Add oysters and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Slice toast into triangles. Ladle stew into 8 soup bowls, 3 oysters per bowl. Garnish with chives and serve with warm toast.
NOTES: Do not boil. Use cream for more authenticity but also more fat. Modernize by garnishing with freshly ground nutmeg. Serves 8.